#17 Juan Alonzo
At the beginning of each and every performance of a Championship Bull Riding event, Tuff Hedeman dedicates the performance to the military, both active service men and women and veterans. In January of 2015, a retired soldier entered the CBR locker room not as an inspirational guest, but as a competitor and in four weeks he will return to the CBR World Finals for a third time to do what he calls “his dream job.”
More than three years have passed since Alonzo traded his combat for cowboy boots, and he’s worked hard to move up the ranks, qualifying for his first CBR World Finals in 2015 going on to win the first round with a 90 point ride and then winning the first round again during the 2016 World Finals.
United States Army Veteran Juan Alonzo enters the 2017 World Finals in the number 17 position. He competed in fourteen of the sixteen Road to Cheyenne tour stops missing only Laughlin and Lufkin during the 2017 season. Although he will tell you he did not have the season he hoped for fighting thru injury, but you can bet Juan Alonzo’s star will shine in Cheyenne.
Juan Alonzo is an Army of One, an all or nothing style of rider. With a total of twelve 90 point plus rides on his record, including two 91 points rides in El Paso this season. Juan heard the whistle just seven times during the current season, but three of those qualified rides were for 90 points or more. He advanced to the semifinal round in fifty percent of the events he attended, but struggled to get to the Shoot Out round making it only once to the final four man round and that was in Las Vegas where he won the first and second round and finished the event second behind Briscoe with 180 on three. His highest marked ride of the season was 91.5 points in Jackson, Tennessee on 3728 Yellowhair (Hurst).
United States Army Veteran Juan Alonzo, jump started his bull riding career in 2015 finishing 11th in the CBR World Standings during his rookie year then followed it up with a 12th place finish after riding two of five in Cheyenne in 2016.
The 25 years old bull rider from Weslaco, Texas, retired from the US Army after 5 years with two tours in Afghanistan. Despite experiencing combat on a daily basis, Alonzo always wanted to become a bull rider.
“I love this sport, this is all I ever wanted to do and it’s always been on my mind,” said Alonzo, who even during his deployment would practice on a homemade bull machine made with a barrel and rope. “Right after I got in the military, they wanted to keep me in and send me to Special Forces to do all kinds of stuff. But I turned everything down and told them ‘No, I want to ride bulls for the rest of my life.'”
“It’s about who’s got the biggest heart and who wants it real bad,” Alonzo said. “Yeah, it’s going to be rough, you’re going to be scared, but you’ve got to know how to control your fear and go on with your business and let your skill and muscle memory take over.”
His father rode bulls in amateur competition and it has always been his dream and he was determined when he got back to the United States he was going to make it happen. He was not qualified for the elite Road to Cheyenne televised tour, but came in as a potential qualifier in January 2015 at the Oman Arena in Jackson, Tennessee for the Friday night Horizon Series portion of the event. Alonzo covered his bull and Hedeman rewarded him with a draw in the second night’s portion of the event.
Juan earned his way on the televised tour and has been inside the top twenty each year. He is recognized each year on Military Monday, a time honored tradition at Cheyenne Frontier Days where for two consecutive years he has won the first round of competition.
Juan Alonzo we thank you for your service and you are an inspiration to us all – living your American dream.
Barker and Barnett #2
Owned by two friends, Larry Barker of Las Cruces, New Mexico and William Barnett, Cypress, Texas, the Barker and Barnett bull team partnership qualified their team #2 for the 2017 CBR World Finals with a total earnings of $20,000 for the 2017 Road to Cheyenne season. This team qualified in the 17th position for the winner take all two night series set to begin in four weeks and worth a total of $300,000 in cash, a Bloomer stock trailer, full quill Fenoglio boots, a Hyo Silver trophy buckle and a Juan Jose Munoz Andrade custom Saddle.
The Barker Barnett #2 team began its year with a second place finish in Jackson, Tennessee in early January where they also picked up Bull of the Event honors, a check for $12,000 and Champion Bull buckles. Their solid showing was thanks to their headliner and Eli Vastbinder who rode the 2016 CBR Bull of the Year, 2079 Cowtown Cartel for 92.5 points. The other two members of the team included Y9 Final Judgement and 264z Houdini Martini.
They slipped back to 10th in Rio Rancho in spite of a 91 point ride by Tyler Bingham on 3381 Wed Willy. 51 Lil Wash and 47 Life Without Parole rounded out the team bucking off Kritter Lamb and Taryl Smith and 3381 Wet Willy, both in less than 4 seconds each.
Their third team outing was in El Paso where they bucked 322 Primetime, 3381 Wet Willy and 52 Lil Fool for one qualified ride from Jeff Askey (91.5 points) on 52, earning them a third place check worth $8,000. Wet Willy would be named the Champion Bull (high marked ride score) of the event.
For more information on the CBR World Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days see www.cfdrodeo.com. Follow the CBR on social media @cbrbull.com
Courtesy of CBR